Early Christian Communism- Part I


After discussing the mandate of Catholic Stand with my managing editors, I have decided to pull this article. We are a site written by Catholics columnists for Catholics or those interested in the Catholic perspective. The message and tone of the article, written by a non-Catholic, appears to directly challenge the traditional understanding of Christianity’s early history.

In All Things in Common: The Economic Practices of the Early Christians, and The Sources of Early Christian Communism, Roman Montero demonstrates how the early Christians practiced a form of communism and that this practice was based firmly in their theological convictions. Anthony Layne argued against these claims on Catholic Stand in the article, The “Socialist Jesus/Communist Early Church” Heresy.


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9 thoughts on “Early Christian Communism- Part I”

  1. Communism is based on envy.

    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”
    “Thou shalt not steal.”

    In 20 centuries since Christ (and before that) it has never worked. As practiced in 20th century it was clearly against God.

    Same applies to socialism. God put Adam in the garden to work it.

  2. The principle you enunciated as “practicing communism” (“from each according to his ability to each according to his need”) sounds a whole lot like practicing Christianity. The message of the article is unnecessarily provocative and seems to want to score some kind of liberal point against a traditional understanding of the early church. Promoting a book are we?

    1. The difference though is that Christians are voluntarily charitable and can choose whom to help, who’s needs are unmet. In communism envy defines one’s “needs”. In Christianity the needy person is grateful, in communism the needy person is envious, entitled, greedy.

  3. Pingback: Early Christian Communism – Roman A. Montero

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  5. Communism is a political and economic ideology that aims to replace private property with public ownership and communal control of the major means of production and the natural resources of a society. Whether you write the word with a capital ‘c’ or a small ‘c’ is irrelevant because its meaning is still the same. You also cannot simply say “I’m breaking down this ideology into its basic meaning” because it has only one accepted meaning. This is like saying “I’m calling chariots cars because they had wheels, they carried passengers and they were propelled by horsepower.” A chariot cannot be called a car.

    Saying early Christians were communists is ludicrous. They were not communists because Jesus Christ did not become man to bring us a political and economic ideology. He became man as an act of atonement and to bring us God’s truths. Some early Christians in major cities, surrounded by the Romans and others who scoffed at Christ’s message of salvation, chose to live together in communities within communities, pooling their resources to care for one another. This does not make them communists. Other early Christians did not join these communal communities within communities.

    Whether or not you want to admit it, by saying the early Christians were communists you are presenting the political and economic ideology that is communism as a palatable form of governance. I have to agree with Anthony Layne. Some early Christians practiced a form of communal-ism that eventually came to an end as Christ’s message of salvation spread. End of story.

    1. Similarly there’s nothing unChristian about communism. And certainly nothing unChristian about socialism.

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